New York: Nasdaq expects its custody services for digital assets to launch by the end of the second quarter as it joins a growing pool of traditional financial firms that could fill the role of crypto middlemen following a spate of bankruptcies in the industry.
The global exchange group is pushing ahead to get all the necessary technical infrastructure and regulatory approvals in place, Ira Auerbach, senior vice president and head of Nasdaq Digital Assets, said in an interview in Paris. Nasdaq has applied to the New York Department of Financial Services for a limited-purpose trust company charter, which would oversee the new business.
The project, which was initially announced in September, will mark the first major foray into crypto for the exchange operator. Safekeeping Bitcoin and Ether would be the first step to building a broad suite of services for the group’s digital assets division, eventually including execution for financial institutions, Auerbach said.
Collapsing cryptocurrency prices led to bankruptcies that culminated in the fall of the FTX exchange in November. With the preferred digital asset exchange for trading firms and other professional investors gone, traditional finance firms - like Nasdaq - are moving in.
Nasdaq will join BNY Mellon and Fidelity among other large financial firms offering crypto safekeeping. Others are focusing efforts on tokenizing traditional assets like bonds in the hopes that crypto’s underlying technology will make trading and processing the assets more efficient.